Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lesson 109: 5 Days Left--Can You Handel It?

The High School Chorus traveled around to the elementary schools this week to perform their holiday show.  They do it every year.  I always look forward to seeing the older kids come back.  It is fun to watch them grow and change.  They sing songs for us, and lead us in some carols for a sing along, but my favorite number is the last song, the last one performed every year--George Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from his Messiah.  The music teacher gives the elementary students a little history lesson every year about how King George stood for this song (no Slovenians, not George Bush--he just thought he was king), and ever since people have been on their feet when this song has been sung.

Eloise will give you a little history lesson on surely one of my dear departed German Brothers in Song--George Frederic Handel.   Given all my natural born musical talent (note sarcasm) I am sure I am on some twig of his family tree.  In fact, some of my German relatives were part of the Seibenburger Singing Society in Erie.  Sorry to say I didn't get one shred of those genes passed down to me.  Bummer.

 Here is his picture:

Now we have solved the mystery where my hair comes from. I guess I got those genes instead of the musical talent (yes, it's a joke, I am aware its a wig--but I still ask WHY?).  Historians also describe Handle as large boned and loud.  He had a kind and generous spirit and was known for donating to charities even in the face of his own personal bankruptcy.  Handle was raised a Lutheran and was a devout follower of the Christian faith.  I liked what one Internet source stated about him:  He was relentless optimist whose faith in God sustained him through every difficulty.  Raised as a sincere Lutheran, he harbored no sectarian animosities and steered clear of denominational disagreements.  Once, defending himself before a quarrelsome archbishop, Handel simply replied, “I have read my Bible very well, and will choose for myself.”

Things would be a lot simpler for Christians if we all took up that attitude.  Here is another portrait.  Handel looks confused.  He probably was ticked off at the artist who was rendering his likeness.  I spent more time laughing at the google images of Handel than I did researching, I think.

One character trait that defined Handle was his obstinate and stubborn nature.  Those traits which are prevalent in my family lineage can work to either your advantage or disadvantage.  In Handel's case, his took the form of persistence and he continued to work away at his dream of composing even at his worst of times.  His faith got him through the dark parts of his life and Hallelujah for that!  In fact he wrote a whole chorus about it.

I sum up Handel's contribution to music by borrowing the worlds from Patrick Kavanaugh, author of Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers.  He states:  Handle refused to be deterred by setbacks, attacks, illnesses, or even sever financial woes.  It is a tribute to the faith and optimism Handel possessed, relying on God as he worked to overcome significant obstacles and to create music that is universally cherished today.   Nicely put, Pat.

While I was researching Handel, I found out that Bach was also born in Germany the same year, although the two composers never crossed paths.  Bach really has nothing to do with this piece except for the fact that his portrait cracked me up, too.  Laughter helps ease holiday stress, they say.

I guess the appeal of the beautiful Hallelujah chorus lies in its simplicity.  The word Hallelujah is broken into four parts, but the first note is held, so it goes like this:  HAAAAAAAA-le-lu-jah!  It was new and catchy at the time.  Another music historian also notes that the "King of kings, Lord of lords" is the same note repeated but played at higher somethings or other.  Like math, I don't know or understand music.  I am just a fan in awe of the people who do.

I see from the above posted video that I am not the only one in awe of this song or those individuals whom are talented enough (and in the video, brave enough) to sing this in a mall's food court.  This was part of a "Flash Mob" that has become popular in the last couple of years.  For those of you who are still in the dark about he concept, you obviously have a computer because you are reading this blog, so google the term to save the rest of us the boredom of an explanation.  I love not only those singing, but he reaction of the bystanders who were lucky enough to be in the right place in the right time.  Look for the one blond who keeps on eating though.  I feel like screaming, "Hey Lady!  Put down your fork for a minute!  This is a once in a lifetime thing to be witness to a Flash Mob involving this song!"

There has been a commercial airing from time to time on a Flash Mob gone wrong.  Click here for a chuckle   I've always desired to be part of one, but this would be me.

Eloise is of German ancestry and I really don't give much thought to it aside from Christmas time. Christmas brings with it the need to carry on traditions of our parents and grandparents.  Because America is the big melting pot, many holiday traditions abound in this country and they are neat to hear about.  One of the traditions of German people is in the making of gingerbread houses.  This custom was popularized with my Boyz, the Brothers Grimm (Eloise is a lover of fairy tales).  They recorded the Germanic tale of Hansel and Gretel.  They are the lost and starving brother-sister duo known best for nibbling at the witch's candy house, getting captured, and living to tell about it.  

Here are some that we made in our house this week.  They sure are cute, but the problem is where do I put them?

This is Ellen's house.  She's my artsy one.  Ellen and com padre Em made these last weekend.  Not too shabby.

Here is Natalie working on hers.  

Here is Sam's finished product.  Notice his shirt covered with frosting.  You should have seen the pants.

Here is Eloise's.  Not too shabby.  I didn't get Handel's musical talent, but at least he gave me art and design and baking ability..............
Yeah right.  Thank you for the dream Google Images.

Christmas is 5 days away.  I have no business making a mess in my kitchen with gingerbread houses when I still have shopping to do, presents to wrap, and now a sticky floor to mop.  However, Christmas and the traditions that come with it are important.  They are worth the mess.

Again, let me reiterate--CHRISTMAS IS 5 DAYS AWAY.  Can you Handel it?


1 comment:

D Dski said...

That brings back memories of the "Gingerbread Trailer".